Hailing from a small town in Malaysia, I was named Mahirah after my mother’s Egyptian roommate. I graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Mathematics from Vanderbilt University. Upon graduation, I took up a position at a multinational automotive manufacturing company. Throughout the years there, I took up various positions in quality control, supply chain and new product development. I was very fortunate to be able to work with engineers from east Asia, Europe and North America. In almost every discussion, there are always miscommunications between the engineers, who needed capital for projects, and the accountant, who released the capital. One without business knowledge and the other without science knowledge.
Upon realising this, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and embarked on a new chapter of my life. I took a break in my career and enrolled myself in a business school to enhance my business skills. In business school, I was introduced to terms like startup, venture capital and social entrepreneurship/ technopreneurship, which was alien to me previously. I was also asked to create a business model and present it to investors. While doing this project, I learned the process of starting a business as well as learned to explain to investors without using difficult technical jargon, which most of those in the science field are lacking. I understood that with the knowledge I gained in business school, I can explore and create things that I didn't think were possible back then. I was awarded a Master in Business Administration from Saïd Business School, Oxford University.
Many of my friends opted to start their own business upon graduating. From organic sunscreen to creating their own video game, some businesses were successful while some were not. I decided to pursue a different path. I was very selective with the position that I applied for after receiving my MBA. I wanted a career that I am passionate about. A career where I can impart the skills I gained throughout my career in manufacturing and the knowledge I learned at Oxford University. As I read the job descriptions posted on LinkedIn, I found the Leave a Nest post and it somehow clicked with me. I read the company profile and it fascinated me even further. This is the place where I would be able to utilise both my engineering and business skills.
Being part of the Frontier Development team allows me to do that. My experience working in the manufacturing industry has taught me that those in science and finance misunderstand each other all the time as they lack understanding of each other’s situation. When this happens, critical projects were put on hold, frustrations build up and eventually, nothing was done. Aside from that, I’ve watched some of my friend’s startups went bankrupt when they tried to mass produce their products because of lack of experience in manufacturing. Money was invested but products produced were mediocre and profoundly different from those produced in the lab. My mission in Leave a Nest Malaysia is to bridge the gap between science and business as well as assist those who wish to mass produce their products.